Bike Maintenance…Protect your ride by keeping it clean.

Have you ever bothered to really clean the Cogset on the back of your bike?  It’s really easy and can save you $30-$50 every time you go to your local bike shop.

A week or so ago I received one of those “Bike Tune-UP” emails for Springtime, about how important it is to avoid the perils associated with a poorly maintained bike. For the most part if you ride a lot, you know if your brakes need to be adjusted, or if your ride just isn’t shifting like it used to. These are fairly simple.  But how about cleaning your bike? No, not just re-applying finish line to your chain and wiping away the excess.

Here’s what you need and how to do it.

* Chain whip
* Lockring tool
* Degreaser
* Toothbrush
* Paper towels
* Old Tupperware dish


1. Remove the Skewer via the Quick-Release.


2.  Insert the “Lockring tool” into place.


3. Take “chain whip” and wrap it around one of the sprockets, and then use a pair of pliers to loosen the cap that holds the entire Cogset on the hub. The Pliers will turn the cap in the direction that the hub travels freely, so the Chain whip is used to hold the Cogset in place with just a small amount of leverage.


4. Simply remove the cap from the end.


5. Next, just lift the Cogset off of the hub.


6. Note the single smaller spine grove inside the Cogset.  This will be important later when you add everything back to the hub.


7. Next just add a bit of Citrus degreaser and water in a Tupperware.    Take your toothbrush and just brush away all of the crap.  This should come off very easily in the water/degreaser solution.  Note: The Tupperware and the toothbrush are now no longer useful for any other purpose, so just keep them for future bike cleaning jobs:)


8. At this point your individual sprockets will look like this and the degreaser solution will be pretty murky.


9. Before we add everything back to the hub, remember the “small spine groove” mentioned above?  Well that will need to line up with the small spine below.


10. Add each single sprocket and spacer back to the hub in the order that it was take off.  This will only fit on in one direction.  There will also most likely be a beveled edge or mark of some sort on each sprocket.  They all face the same direction.


11. Take your cap and screw it back on with the Lockring tool using your hand until it is snug.


12. Then just give it a 1/4 turn with the pliers/vice grip. Don’t over tighten.


13. Lastly just thread the Skewer back through the hub and you are good to go.


After you are done with all of this your Cogset is now clean.  It is a good idea at this point to now put some ‘Finish Line’ on the chain and let it cycle around a few times so all of the Sprockets get some lube. Note, you can also use your degreaser to clean all the grease, tar, Gu, Gel, debris off of your bike frame.

This entire process should only take about 30 minutes.  See also, How to change a bike tire with CO2.


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3 Responses to Bike Maintenance…Protect your ride by keeping it clean.

  1. Jeremy says:

    Very easy & straightforward instructions! Do you have any more like say on bottom brackets? I seem to be pretty tough on bottom brackets and would love to do it myself to save some money throughout the season.

  2. Jeff says:


    The bottom bracket is pretty easy as well. It’s been a while since I’ve done this so I don’t have any good pictures, but I follow the process here:

    Bicycles/Maintenance and Repair/Bottom Brackets/Bottom bracket overhaul

    You will most likely have a cartridge bottom bracket so you will need to purchase a new one every time you do the overhaul.

    A cartridge bottom bracket is a sealed unit and once worn out the whole thing is replaced.

    Cartridge bottom bracket replacement:

    1. Remove both crank arms
    2. Use a bottom bracket tool to remove old unit. Remember most modern bikes use English threads so the drive side cup will be reverse threaded and unscrews clockwise.
    3. Clean bottom bracket threads in frame with degreaser and rag.
    4. Apply grease to the frame threads and bottom bracket threads.
    5. Insert the bottom bracket into the frame. Make sure it is oriented correctly, left and right should be marked on the shell. Typically the drive side cup will be fixed to the shell and have a raised flange. Take care when threading the bottom bracket into the frame, it is easy to cross thread. If the cup has a raised flange tighten until the flange is tight against the frame.
    6. Fit the other cup again taking care to avoid cross threading. Tighten until it is tight against the shell.
    7. Reinstall cranks.

    Note: I would stop by the bike shop and check which tools you would need, but I needed an Allen wrench set, and 2 Park Tools…SPA-1 and SPA-2. These tools are less standardized so just doublecheck.

    Hope this Helps!

  3. Pingback: How to change a bike tire with CO2 | Jeff Greene

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